Published on January 2, 2018.

Solutions Big & Small

Based on interviews with home ignition experts, wildfire researchers, and local fire marshals, as well as materials from national programs including NFPA’s Firewise® and the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire, here is a list of recommendations aimed at slowing the pace of wildfire’s destruction.


Incentivize communities to adopt smart development and land-use planning by making federal grants contingent on compliance.

Shift national wildfire policy priorities away from suppression and toward better land-use planning and the construction of ignition-resistant buildings.

Use education to change society’s perspective of wildfire from a problem to control and conquer to a natural element we must accept and adapt to.


Illustration of recommendations to take to slow the pace of wildfire's destruction at a city/county level

1. Require property owners to manage hazardous vegetation and maintain their properties.

2. Reduce fuels around homes and within the wildland/urban interface through community mitigation programs and by educating residents of the dangers.

3. Require ignition-resistant construction materials for new developments and retrofits.

4. Restrict development within high wildfire risk areas such as steep slopes.

5. Incentivize developers to plan open space and recreational trails, which can serve as fuel breaks in the event of wildfire.

6. Encourage agricultural lands to buffer development from wildfires.

7. Require risk-reduction features in new subdivisions, such as minimum road widths, secondary access, and adequate water supply.


Illustration of recommendations to take to slow the pace of wildfire's destruction at a structure level

Public outreach and education efforts such as NFPA’s Firewise® program teach homeowners what they can do to better protect their homes from igniting during a wildfire.

1. Cut branches overhanging the home, trim overgrown shrubs, and keep trees from growing too close to the home.

2. Rake up leaves, mow tall grasses, and remove excess tree branches and other debris from within 100 feet of the house.

3. Keep gutters clear of dead leaves, pine needles, and other flammable debris; replace or repair loose or missing shingles or roof tiles to prevent ember penetration; reduce embers that could pass through vents in the eaves by installing eighth-inch metal mesh screening; clean debris from exterior attic vents and install metal mesh.

4. Repair or replace damaged or loose window screens and any broken widows.

5. Never store flammable materials under decks or porches, and remove dead vegetation and debris from under decks/porches and between deck board joints.